WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The union representing employees at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staged a picket at ICE headquarters after filing allegations with the agency's Office of Inspector General demanding an investigation into the culture of discrimination, gross-mismanagement, and harassment that pervades the agency's leadership.
"We've begged ICE leadership to intervene but they refuse to clean up the agency," said Felix Luciano, a local president of the union in San Diego. "If you're a pregnant female, a veteran, a union representative, or person of color, you're a target of ICE managers."
Luciano said that, in San Diego alone, ICE employees have filed 18 separate discrimination suits against ICE and Department of Homeland Security supervisors. But the problems are wide-spread. Luciano is one of dozens of union members leading the protest in front of ICE Headquarters in Washington, D.C. today.
"Union and non-union employees agree: ICE is a horrific place to work," said Chris Crane, National President of the union representing ICE employees. The Office of Personnel Management's annual survey of federal employees ranked the agency third-worst in employee morale for all of government.
"Mission readiness falls apart when leadership fails, and morale hits rock bottom," Crane said. "Discrimination, harassment and retaliation are a part of everyday life for ICE employees. Our managers act more like thugs than public servants entrusted to manage ICE's critical public safety and national security missions."
Crane added that no employee was immune – morale continues to drop among the agency's law enforcement officers, employees and supervisors. ICE was ranked just above the Secret Service – whose security failures Crane points to as a potential outcome of ICE's own toxic environment. Crane said that more allegations would be filed in the coming weeks – including some that involved criminal allegations.
Luciano said that agency officials needed to implement change and hold managers accountable.
"One of our pregnant agents recently resigned following a miscarriage caused after she was forced to work with detainees known to have contagious diseases," said Luciano. "With one life already lost, what more must happen before leaders start doing their jobs?"
The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council proudly represents thousands of ICE employees throughout the United States.
SOURCE National ICE Council